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UM Cyber Lab to Train Students in Cyber Security, Big Data

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MISSOULA -

University of Montana students will soon be able to study cyber security using "big data," inside UM's new "Cyber Innovation Laboratory."

UM leaders said they've partnered with city leaders and Montana technology companies to bring the lab to campus.

University of Montana leaders said the Cyber Lab is a natural outgrowth of the university's commitment to technology education, which now includes the analysis of "big data," or massive, complex sets of data.

"This is something spreading worldwide very rapidly," said UM Provost Perry Brown.

Brown said the Cyber Lab will provide students an isolated, secure location to study cyber security.

"We can begin to look at things and look for patterns in data that we just didn't have the capability to do before."

UM officials said students will learn how to identify weaknesses in information systems, how hackers penetrate computer systems, and digital forensic analysis.

Brown said, "Currently, we have also a real budding cyber industry in Missoula."

He said local technology companies, and those located around the state are footing the approximately $40,000 bill to get the lab up and running.

"They're making suggestions to us about things they feel a graduate needs to know in this particular area."

Brown said Montana tech companies have offered to provide their expertise for UM's cyber security curriculum.

"They've also talked about how they'll help us actually make a larger presence in the whole nation."

State leaders said the Cyber Lab will ultimately help graduates obtain jobs in the rapidly growing cyber security industry.

Brown said they're building the lab on the ground floor of the Interdisciplinary Science Building -- a project they hope to have completed within the next few months.

UM recently received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve campus cyberinfrastructure.

To learn about courses already offered in computer technology, click here.

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